From YouTube Stars to Twitter Influencers, we have to agree that the digital world we live in has opened up a number of opportunities for all of us. The advantages of social media are innumerable – it allows us to share news, information, jokes, photographs and so much more with our friends and family who are both near and far. While you may like to share photos, other people may enjoy posting their favourite cat videos on their twitter feeds. So – what motivates people to share content on social media?
Across Networking Sites
Across the platforms of Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus, it was found that:
- 43% of people share photos on their pages, while 26% share status updates on how they are doing or feeling.
- Photos are more common on Facebook and GooglePlus, while Twitter has more daily updates than images being shared.
- It was also found that 7 out of 10 people share on social media to give others a better idea of what they care about, and who they really are.
- A massive 84% of people were found to share third-party links on their own social media pages as a way to support a cause or issue that they cared about.
- While 78% of people shared information that allowed them to stay connected to people who have similar interests, and may not otherwise stay connected.
A company called Fractl (A Content Marketing Agency) conducted a survey with 2000 Facebook users, to find out exactly what urged people to share content on Facebook. They found that :
- 48% of people who took their survey posted third-party links to entertain their friends. While only 17% shared content that they genuinely care about.
- 13% of people shared those things that they felt would evoke an emotional response.
- Only 11% of people posted third-party links as a means to provide useful information to their friends.
- It was also found that those users who have more than 500 friends are 7% more likely to share content that helps them maintain a certain image.
- Nearly 31% of people in general will share content that allows them to maintain a certain image of themselves.
- More than half of the people in the survey admitted that they would not share third-party content if they thought that it was controversial.
- The survey showed that women are 13% more likely to share content on Facebook in the hopes of eliciting an emotional response, while men are more likely to share content in the hopes of persuading friends of their viewpoint.
Now that we have a better understanding of what people share on social media, let’s try and understand how this can help us in digital marketing. The fact that content can be shared across all the social media platforms, is great news for us. Studies show that people are more likely to believe individuals rather than brands, so if a person shares one of your brand ideas, all their friends on Facebook, or followers on Twitter are likely to think of your brand in a good way.
Every single day, 4.75 billion items are shared on Facebook. The iPhone Facebook App is a hub of activity, and 66% of total social media sharing is done via the app. So, to make your content share-able, you need to ensure that your image or your brand messages work well on the mobile app. If people have to work too hard to see what you’re trying to say, they aren’t likely to share your content. On Twitter, having somebody re-tweet one of your brand’s messages will also help, as the average number of followers per Twitter user is 208.
If you want to target content towards men, make it more about image, or about the ideal man. Whereas, women prefer sharing content that makes their friends or followers feel something, so content targeted to women should be more emotional. Generally, men are more active on social media than women. By targeting the right audience over various social media sites, you can harness the power of social media as a part of your digital marketing strategy.
Now that we already know why people share on social media, the key is to use this information and strategically align our social media communication strategy.